Yesterday saw a public sector strike damaging to the taxpayer co-ordinated by an army of full time trade union activist paid by the tax payer. Thousands of union activists work full time at tax payers expense, often from tax payer funded facilities planning how to disrupt services.
There would be at least £133 million more of taxpayers’ money to pay our hard working nurses, teachers and social workers if the unions were not siphoning this from the pay and pensions of front line staff to pay for their own full time trade union activists.
Click here to read Kelvin Mackenzie’s Daily Mail blog saying of TURC Chairman Aidan Burley MP: “Hats off to Tory MP Aidan Burley for pointing out that we could have an extra 2,800 nurses if the taxpayer stopped footing the £67?million bill for trade union officials in state-run industries; hospitals, police etc. If members want trade unions, fine — they should pay for it, not us.”
The Trade Union Reform Campaign is delighted to have received an endorsement from the Prime Minister, the Rt Hon David Cameron MP.
In a letter to TURC Chairman Aidan Burley MP, the Prime Minister wished the campaign all the best and said he strongly believes that the “current level of public subsidy to the trade unions cannot be sustained, either morally or economically.”
David Cameron also welcomed TURC’s research programmes, specifically the number of ‘Full Time Equivalents’ working on trade union activities at public expense.
You can click on the images below to see TURC Chairman Aidan Burley MP’s original letter to the Prime Minister and Mr Cameron’s reply.
The Sun newspaper has named TURC Chairman Aidan Burley MP as Westminster Hero of the Week, saying:
“Tory backbencher Aidan Burley spoke for millions of taxpayers this week when he demanded to know why full-time trade union officials are being paid out of the public purse. An estimated £68 million a year is given to teachers, nurses and police officers who only carry out union business. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has vowed to end the practice. But just in case the Government was wavering, Mr Burley delivered a bravura performance in the Commons pointing out the absurdity of the arrangement – which Labour allowed to develop when they were in power. Mr Burley told the Commons: “In simple terms, the taxpayer is directly funding those organising strikes and chaos, and also indirectly funding the Labour Party, and I think that is wrong.” Hear hear.”
Trade Unions received £113 million of funding from taxpayers in 2010-11. That is an estimated £80 million in paid staff-time plus £33 million in direct payments. That is £7 million more in direct payments than 2009-10, although the Skills Funding Agency was unable to provide figures for its legacy organisation in 2009-10.
At least 2,840 full time equivalent public sector staff worked on trade union activities or duties at taxpayers? expense in 2010-11. This means that there are now more taxpayer-funded trade unionists in the UK than British Transport Police officers, of which there are 2,835.2
At organisations which provided data for both the years covered in this note, there was an increase of 32 full time equivalent public sector staff from 2009-10.
Our figure of 2,840 is almost certainly an underestimate. Bodies that do not record facility time acknowledge that staff do utilise it. For example, Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust have 42 union stewards who meet regularly, but the time they spend on this is not recorded.
Only 7 organisations of the 1,300 public sector bodies we surveyed for this report did not respond. 257 organisations kept no record of the time taken off by staff to carry out union duties.
Parliamentary questions have revealed that in the public sector 0.14 per cent of the annual pay bill is spent on facility time, compared to 0.04 per cent in the private sector. If the number of public sector staff working for trade unions were reduced by the same ratio 2,028 full-time equivalent staff could return to frontline services, equivalent to saving £57.2 million of taxpayers’ money.
The organisation with the highest number of staff working on trade union activities was the Department for Work and Pensions, with 308 full time equivalent staff. HMRC had the second highest number, with 181 full time equivalent staff.
Birmingham City Council was the local authority with the highest number, with nearly 62 full time equivalent staff working on trade union activities and duties. The second and third placed local authorities were Coventry, with 29, and Nottingham, with 26.
The top quangos were Defence Equipment and Support with 36, Transport for London with 31 and Remploy with 29.
The organisation in Scotland with the most employees on union duties was the Scottish Prison Service, who had 34 full time equivalent staff.
In Wales, Betsi Cadwaladr University Local Health Board came top with nearly 11.
In Northern Ireland, Belfast Health and Social Care Trust had the most with 16 full time equivalents.
The top police force was the Metropolitan Police Force who had 16 full time equivalent staff undertaking union duties.
Today sees the launch of the Trade Union Reform Campaign (TURC). This campaigning group is designed to reform the anomalies which see trade unions unfairly take public money and resources to support their own objectives while holding the tax payer to ransom.
At least £133 million of taxpayers money is used by trade unions to pay for union staff working to further union ends while tax payers pick up the bill. This amount is almost certainly a gross underestimate. Further resources are also expended through the use of facilities which are donated free of charge to Unions which should instead be classrooms or nurses surgeries. Government departments even get involved in docking the pay of workers to pay for union subs at no charge to the union. This is all money and resources which should be better directed towards front line staff like nurses, social workers, doctors and teachers. This misspending is present across all elements of state spending – from central government to the NHS to schools to our local authorities. As the Prime Minister himself has said “I do not think full-time trade unionists working in the public sector on trade union business rather than serving the public is right, and we will put that to an end”.
Mark Clarke is the Chief Executive, responsible for the day to day running of the campaign. Mark first brought this issue to public notice with the exposure of Jane Pilgrim – a so called nurse who was actually a full time £40k a year trade union activist, running a private consultancy on the side while squatting in a commune.